Healthy ecosystems underpin whole economies and societies: They provide food and fuel, deliver economic gains, support livelihoods, mitigate climate change and protect communities against natural disasters. Despite the powerful case for investing in these ecosystems to build resilience to climate risks, the world has barely begun to realize this potential. The key barriers include lack of awareness of nature’s critical role in adaptation and lack of accessible funds to invest in nature-based solutions (NbS). Less than 2% of all public international climate finance goes toward NbS for adaptation, missing a critical opportunity to harness the power of nature to make communities more resilient to climate impacts.

WRI is working to support governments and multilateral institutions in understanding the value of nature for climate adaptation, strengthening the adaptation impact from existing nature-based initiatives, identifying appropriate metrics and catalyzing investment in nature-based solutions for adaptation.

This work builds on WRI’s work supporting the Nature-based Solutions Action Track of the Global Commission on Adaptation and other efforts. WRI continues this work in three key areas: 

Assessing and Strengthening Existing Nature-based Solutions Platforms 

With support from the Moore Foundation, WRI is assessing how existing platforms and initiatives that support nature-based solutions have addressed adaptation and contributed to adaptation outcomes. We are also identifying new opportunities for these platforms to support scaling up NbS for adaptation. We are engaging with governments, funding institutions and organizations implementing NbS to increase support for adaptation, including through new commitments, investments and partnerships. 

Catalyzing Investment in Nature-based Solutions 

WRI recently produced an assessment of the landscape of public international funding for nature-based solutions for adaptation. This assessment showed that only a small percentage of international public climate finance is flowing to NbS for adaptation (0.6-1.4% in 2018), and that funding is driven by just a handful of major donors. 

Building on this assessment and other recent work, WRI plans to collaborate with donor governments and funding institutions on two key areas: identifying pathways for donors to increase investment in NbS for adaptation; and developing NbS metrics and standards to ensure those investments are effective and sustainable. 

Advancing City-Led Action on Nature-based Solutions 

WRI, through its Cities4Forests initiative, is working with a network of of over 65 cities to scale up commitments and advance implementation of adaptation-focused nature-based solutions. We produced tools to help cities implement NbS, including the Cities4Forests Toolbox , a social equity guide and an urban forest plans and policies guide. We have also convened a group of “vanguard cities” to share lessons through the Global Comission on Adaptation platform.  

WRI is supporting cities through three key activities: advancing innovative financing and governance strategies for NbS; providing technical assistance to close knowledge gaps around NbS design and planning; and amplifying cities’ political voices to raise ambition on NbS for adaptation globally. 

Image Credit: UNEP Kadir van Lohuizen /Flickr